Ministry renamed: Board members identify name change expectations
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, renamed the Ministry of Communications Technology to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The move, RealNG observed, was in response to the wishes of the incumbent Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who wants it to be, to better place and motivate the Ministry to meet the expectations of the Digital Economy.
In a declaration by the special duty office of the Presidency, authorized by Mrs Philomena Oshodin, Deputy Director, the Government admits that the former name was not limited to following the goals of the digital economy, but also outdated, as it didn’t portray the developments outlined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
It is expected that the name change will steer the Ministry to reposition its strategic goals to hasten growth and social integration.
Ministry sources told RealNG that the ministry will now have the maximum prestige with the new name to achieve the Nigerian economy’s digitalization goals in line with the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP).
Nonetheless, industry professionals say that all demands can’t be met by merely changing the name until a suitable structure is in effect to meet a new economy’s goals.
The President of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria, ALTON, Engr Gbenga Adebayo, said that the new name paints a picture of convergence. “The economy of the top countries is influenced by communications. The Ministry will play a prominent role in making Nigeria a modern nation whose economy is completely digitized and will therefore encounter more swift socio-economic development.”
“It remains for the ministry to set up a Digital Economy Services department and communicate with all other MDAs to introduce digital applications in a brief period and supervise their implementation through MDAs.”
He urged the minister to ascertain that the telecommunications facilities and the sector’s supporting resources are now listed as Critical National Infrastructure and to award them needed protection.
The Director General of the Delta State Innovation Hub, Dr Chris Uwaje, also consented with Adebayo that the new Ministry is a positive development. He said: “With 65 per cent of our youth population, this is a prime opportunity to turn Nigeria economically and digitally. The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami can achieve this monumental quest.”
“The legislation defining and establishing on the one hand the National Information Technology Policy and on the other hand the Communications Technology Policy has achieved full maturity. The Nigerian (ICT) ecosystem has been designed and managed for about 20 years. Change is becoming very urgent and necessary today.”
He urged the minister to update the Ministry’s vision, mission and mandate to implement the development properly.
However, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, social entrepreneur and executive director of the Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise focused on economic inclusion and digital rights, said the name itself means a lot, because it helps to propel inner vision and express goals to those looking from outside.
“Dr. Omobola Johnson was, in theory, approved of Nigeria’s ICT policy during the Jonathan administration, but it did not function quickly because the anticipated unity between the then Ministry of Communications Technology and the Ministry of Information did not comply with the need for the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission to join other converged ICT agencies in the Ministry of Communications Technology, amongst other issues.”
Dr. Bayero Agabi, President of the Center for Cyber Awareness and Development, agreed with him. He wants the new ministry to bring together, among others, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Computer Professional (CPN), NITDA, and Galaxy backbone to achieve a proper digital economy.
OCTOBER 25, 2019